A senior military official was arrested on April 21 in Svay Rieng province related to transporting 28 Chinese travelling out of Phnom Penh amid a government ban on inter-provincial travel to fight against the spread of Covid- 19.
Svay Rieng provincial governor Men Vibol told The Post that provincial authorities arrested the two-star military general on the night of April 21 as he was involved in the smuggling of nearly 30 Chinese people from Phnom Penh to Svay Rieng.
“The provincial authorities are taking action on this. I cannot give comment on this arrest, because the authorities are still working on the case. And also I don’t know when he will be sent to court,” Vibol said.
The provincial governor identified the official as Sum Pov, a lieutenant general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF). He had taken 28 Chinese crossing provinces, breaking the government’s ban on lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
He said RCAF commander-in-chief Vong Pisen had paved the way for the provincial authorities to take strict legal action without exception against Pov, who served as the Deputy Chief of the Military Strategy Research Team of the Command under the Ministry of National Defence.
In his audio message shared widely on social media, Pisen urged the authorities to follow the law.
"This individual, Sum Pov, must be punished in accordance with the law. I cannot tolerate his action because he did not respect the order and even violated the law. Let him face justice because no one can resist the order of Samdech [Prime Minister Hun Sen],” he said.
Pov received a mission letter issued by Meas Vanna, chairman of the Military Strategic Research Team, authorising him to travel through the capital and province from April 1 to May 30.
After receiving this mission letter, Pov smuggled 28 Chinese nationals from Phnom Penh to Svay Rieng province to continue to go abroad. But they were suppressed by Svay Rieng provincial police, according to local media outlet Fresh News.
Tep Phalla, administrative secretary of Svay Rieng Provincial Court, told The Post that the provincial court had not yet received the case.
"We just received the same unofficial information that it is still under the jurisdiction of the provincial authorities. If the police send the case, we will work according to the fact of what case was charged and whether the prosecution will charge them or not, then the court will decide later," Phalla said.